Time to Read: 7 minutes
Getting hearing aids is music to your ears if you’re a music lover. We look at:
- What to do when music doesn't sound the same anymore
- The benefits of hearing aids
- Programmed music
- Tips for enjoying music
Enjoying music is one of the greatest pleasures in life. There is something about the combination of notes and instruments that has the power to transport us, to tap into our emotions.
Music also has tangible benefits as well:
- Improves mood
- Reduces stress
- Improves exercise
- Improves memory
It can even help reduce pain.
'Music doesn't sound the same anymore'
Many of our clients tell us they’ve stopped listening to music over time because it ‘doesn’t sound the same any more’. And it’s not just the sound of ‘modern’ music either, even favourite songs and symphonies seem lacking.
Typically, higher frequencies are lost first, which means the subtle changes in music are often lost and higher pitched instruments and notes sound ‘wrong’.
The good news is, hearing aids can make a great improvement, not only to your understanding of speech but also to your enjoyment of music.
The benefits of hearing aids
A British research program called Hearing Aids for Music has conducted a comprehensive study of musicians and music lovers and their experiences using hearing aids - and the results are positive.
In recorded settings, hearing aids were rated as ‘fairly helpful’ or ‘very helpful’ for the majority of musical elements including for hearing the melody, bassline, singer, and lyrics and for being able to pick out individual instruments (e.g. hearing the guitar within a band, or an oboe within an orchestra).
In live settings, hearing aids were rated as helpful for hearing the melody, singer and bassline, but were less helpful for hearing the lyrics and for picking out individual instruments.
The findings also noted that many hearing aid users aren’t familiar with the programs many hearing aids feature. Value Hearing’s Chatswood audiologist, Felix Ju says different styles of hearing aids process music in different ways in different settings.
For a better sound quantity, a music program is essential. Hearing aids and fitting formulas were initially designed for speech.
The normal speech program might consider some repeated rhythms and notes as noise, and will try to remove them.
A separate music program will provide more low frequency amplification, it also turns the noise reduction to minimum or off, so repeated rhythms and notes are preserved. The music program also increases the sound processing speed which helps In this way, the sound processing speed is also increased, which provides a faster response to make sure music sounds as it should.
Modern hearing aids also come with a streaming function using Bluetooth, which means the sound comes directly into your ears.
That’s the good news, but it tells only half the story.
There are another two factors which will impact on how well you will hear music again following hearing loss.
- The extent of your hearing loss
- Retraining your brain
Extent of Hearing Loss
Hearing Aids for Music researchers discovered that people with mild hearing loss benefited the most from wearing hearing aids to listen to music.
If your hearing loss is more severe, then you are more likely to hear lower bass notes more acutely than higher frequencies, even with your hearing aids.
Retaining your brain
We have an article on using audiobooks to help you get used to wearing your hearing aids.
Listening to your favourite music with the song lyrics in front of you is another way to help your brain getting used to process music and sound.
Find musical harmony by partnering with your audiologist. Be sure you understand all the volume and program controls which come with your hearing aid.
Talk to your audiologist about whether you would benefit from a telecoil program or other assistive devices to enjoy your music.
Tips for enjoying music
- Less is more. Start with listening to music at a lower volume and let your hearing aids do the work.
- Explore your hearing aid’s volume setting until you find a level which minimises distortion but allows you to hear clearly.
- Listen to music and try different programs to find the ones that provide the best result
- When listening to music in a live environment, move further away from speakers and musicians to reduce distortion and use the telecoil feature if your hearing aid has it.
When hearing aids are an integral part of your lifestyle, it helps you get the most out of life. We share some lifestyle articles here:
- The colour of noise
- The history of hearing aids
- Safe driving with hearing loss
- Bright prospects for metal detectorists and gold prospectors
- Food, Your Ears and Good Hearing
- Why TV Commercials Sound Louder Than The Programs
- Why It’s Important To Overcome Social Isolation After Hearing Loss
- How to talk to a loved one about hearing loss
- Earprints as Unique as fingerprints
- Did I just hear that right? (Misheard song lyrics)
- Putting sound in movies
- Famous people who wear hearing aids